Monday, June 30, 2008

have you ever read the entire book of mormon...

in 2 1/2 days?

The entire group (except me and Brother Parker)

This past weekend we had youth conference with the young men and women of our ward...and we did just that - we read the entire Book of Mormom, from cover to cover, in 2.5 days! We arrived at the cabin in Pinetop, (which was about a three hour drive), around 12:30 in the afternoon. We quickly unpacked, set up our camping chairs, and began our reading session. Each person was given their own Book of Mormon, marking pencil, and bag to keep their goodies in. Every 1/2 hour or so, we had some kind of diversion that went along with what we had been reading. Some of the diversions consisted of having a physical challenge, singing a hymn, getting a treat, and/or answering a trivia question for a prize. That first day we read, (pretty much only breaking for meals), until 10:00 pm...only to have to start again, at the crack of dawn on Friday. Friday was a long day. We had to have mostly the fast readers reading because we got started later than planned, and had fallen behind schedule. We read from 7:30 in the morning until 11:00 PM...once again, only breaking for meals. We finally were able to finish the 3rd day, at about 3:30 PM. I know that at times the kids (and even we, leaders) became distracted, or too tired to follow along (Sis Tuckett and I stayed awake the entire time though), or bored; but there were other times in which the Spirit permeated the entire room, and the hearts and souls of all those who sought it out and had a true desire to feel it. I don't think I have ever had such a powerful experience while reading the Book of Mormom. It was amazing. And wonderful. And really impossible to fully describe the feeling that came over my entire body and soul. The accounts were more real to me than ever before. The pages, and the people, and their experiences, and dealings, came to life for me. The part that especially touched me was when Christ came to His people in the American continent. He taught them, and blessed them, and prayed for (and with) them. I can't begin to express the love that came over me as we read those pages. I know my Savior lives. I love the Book of Mormon, because it teaches us about Him. We can really learn about Him, gain a testimony of Him, and come to know Him as our personal Savior and friend, by reading the Book of Mormon...for it truly testifies of Him. I will never forget the amazing experience it was, the tender mercies that we witnessed, the spirit that we felt, the love that was exhibited, and the things that we learned, as we read the Book of Mormon 2 1/2 days.

Just as the savior has our names graven on the palms of his hands (1 Nephi 21:16), we were asked to write something on our palm (some wrote on their wrists) that would serve as a reminder of how the Savior loves us.

here we are displaying our palms and wrists

reading the second day

Reading Mosiah 18 by the lake (Alma baptizes at the waters of Mormon).

Alma 3: 4-19 The wicked Amlicites marked themselves...likewise a few of us, marked ourselves.

Alma 19:16-29 Abish makes an appearance...and look who was lucky enough to play Abish :)

Just as the Anti-Nephi-Lehies (Alma 24:1-19; 27:28-29) buried their weapons of war and covenanted to never again shed blood...we also buried our swords, and covenanted to give up something in our lives that may have been distancing us from our Savior.

Four boys acting as the Zoramites on the Rameumptom (Alma 31)

Bishop acting as The prophet Alma as he counsels with his three missionary sons (Alma 36-42)

Moroni (Alma 46) also makes an appearance, and holds up a customized Title of Liberty with a challenge for all of us to complete the Book of Mormon over the three days of youth conference.

Everyone covenanted to do so by signing the title of liberty.

Our "end of Alma" party.

More from the "end of Alma" party.

The aftermath of the "end of Alma" party.

Everyone wore blindfolds during 3 Nephi 8-11, to represent the darkness that covered the land for three days.

We did it!

"The Book of Mormon will change your life. It will fortify you against the evils of our day. It will bring spirituality into your life that no other book will. It will be the most important book you will read in preparation for a mission and for life. A young man or woman who knows and loves the Book of Mormon, who has read it several times, who has an abiding testimony of its truthfulness and who applies its teachings will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and that youth will be a mighty tool in the hands of the Lord."
(Pres. Benson, To the youth of the Noble Birthright, Ensign, May 1986)


ahe said...

That is so cool. Seriously, what an amazing Youth Conference. I love the Book of Mormon. Have you read The Holy Secret? It is amazing and has also helped me have a deeper appreciation for the BOM and the importance of understanding and obeying the words of this amazing book.

buddens said...

That's more than impressive! What a great idea!

Danielle said...

What a FANATSIC idea! I love it! And you look so adorable as Abish, Nicole.

I remember the first time I read the Book of Mormon cover-to-cover. I was 18, just graduated from high school and investigating the Church. I didn't read it 2.5 days (more like three or four weeks), but I do remember that despite not understanding everything at first, feeling compelled to continue reading. I couldn't put it down!

Now, nearly 11 years later, I'm trying to absorb (feast upon) the Book of Mormon with that same zeal, yet in a more deeply personal way. It amazes me that, no matter how many times you read a verse, you will learn something new.

What a wonderful experience you and those youth had with the Book of Mormon. I'm sure it has made a profound impact on their life, and even changed their lives - forever.

You are such an incredible example! You go, girl!

Sarah said...

Wow! What a good idea!

Jon and Ashlyn Ellsworth said...

What a wonderful opportunity those kids had! How fun and spiritual was that? I bet it was one of their best experiences. Great idea of youth conference. I wish I did that as a teenager,

The Heap Family said...

what a wonderful experience for our youth! This is a fabulolus idea!

Jess and Matt said...

Wow, that was seriously the COOLEST thing, the best idea. I wish I could have/ could participate in something like that! Those kids are going to remember and cherish this experience forever. And, you make a GREAT Abish.

The Lee Family said...

Wow, I can't beleive that. How amazing that the kids were able to be up for that! What good youth!

Travis and Teresa Wilson said...

That is amazing! I bet the youth loved that.

Blackner Family said...

Love that idea!! Love that you guys did things throughout to make The Book of Mormon come to life!!

And your tribute to Isaac, amazing!It breaks my heart and fills it with the spirit all at the same time.

Lynell said...

What a wonderful and powerful expereince for those youth to really experience the Book of Mormon! That great that you were able to participate Nic! You and the other leaders did a great job!

Rachel said...

That is SO awesome! I'm sure it was an amazing experience!

Preston & Shawnee said...

Hi Nicole, my name is Shawnee and I'm friends with some people who you are also friends with: Teresa Erikson, Kelly Mullinax, and Kelsey Thorton. I came acrossed your blog and I just want you to know that your words, the way you write, and the things you write about are extremely inspirational. My husband has read the Book of Mormon in three days before as well. We are doing summer sells this summer and I've made a goal to read it like that before school starts at the end of August. Thanks for your testimony of it!
P.S. Your little girl is ADORABLE.

Anonymous said...

I love this idea. I presented it to our Young Women president and we are wanting to do it for Girls camp next year. What an amazing testimony builder and something the youth will always remember. Would it be possible to email me a breakdown of what you did so we can see how to do this. My email is I just love this idea!